Cross-Country Sprint

Days 41 & 42: June 9 & 10
Start: Colorado Springs, CO
Via: Kansas City, MO
States Visited: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky
End: Louisville, KY
Miles Driven: 1,081
Total Miles: 7,653

Apparently, silence isn’t golden. There has been some concern that we’ve fallen off the face of the earth since we haven’t posted in a couple of days.

With the motoring we’ve been doing, there hasn’t been much to report. We sprinted across the country over two days to get to Kentucky. We’re spending a few days here before hitting the Bourbon Trail, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We stopped in Louisville to have a short respite before moving on. Thanks to the HUGE number of hotel nights, we already earned a free night in the Drury; in fact, we earned a lovely suite! It just so happens that a former Firetide colleague, Shelly Swift, moved to Louisville about five years ago. So I looked her up and we went out for drinks at Mojito’s. YUM!

To make our sprint as short as possible, we (unfortunately) ran the Interstate to get here. That’s why there’s a severe lack of pictures. Billboards, exit signs, pasture lands. However, you’ll find the most interesting pictures below, PLUS a plethora of dog pictures. Joe was expecting them.

CANDY!

CANDY! Tom knows that I cannot resist CANDY!

Filler up!

Filler up!

Crossing the...um...which river is this?

Crossing the…um…which river is this?

Jasmine loves the Drury Inn & Suites

Jasmine loves the Drury Inn & Suites

Playful pups

Playful pups

Tickle me Juliet!

Tickle me Juliet!

OOOF! That's the SPOT!

OOOF! That’s the SPOT!

A content pup

A content pup. Traveling with dogs is so great!

Did you say DINNER?

Did you say DINNER?

A scratch is all it takes to make this girl happy

A scratch is all it takes to make this girl happy

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Shawnee National Forest

Day 10: Wednesday, May 5, 2013
Start: Evansville, IN
End: Poplar Bluff, MO
Miles Driven Today: 267
Total Miles: 1,689

Today was another four-state trek. We went from Indiana, back into Kentucky, over to Illinois and finally into Missouri.

We started out in Evansville, Indiana after a good night’s sleep and a nice (free) breakfast at the hotel. We immediately headed for Kentucky to take the Ohio River Scenic Byway and then crossed over into Illinois at the Shawneetown Bridge. On our way to the bridge, we were amazed at the huge farms with what we guessed were these enormous grain conveyor belts. These contraptions crossed many miles of farmland. I wonder if it’s more economical to run the grain across the farms on these belts than to use dump trucks.

Grain Conveyor

We saw miles of this. We think it is a grain conveyor belt.

Spring is in full bloom around here. The sunny day seemed to coax the flowers into an explosion of color; bright yellow mustard flowers contrasted with the green hay fields and the dark tilled earth that was waiting for the new crop to arrive. We were pleased with our route; it couldn’t have been prettier.

Flowers

We saw bursts of bright yellow across the area in these fields of mustard flowers

We soon crossed over into Southern Illinois and into the Shawnee National Forest. Right after we crossed over into Illinois, we encountered Old Shawneetown. Aside from the mobile homes, there was an old ghost town (Shawneetown Bank Historic District) with old buildings that seemed to have some recent life in them (neon signs were not the rage way back when…). But today, it’s deserted and the area is sad. We quickly moved on and wound our way through the forest.

Shawneetown Bridge

Shawneetown Bridge across the Ohio River

Illinois State Line

Welcome to Illinois – Across the Shawneetown Bridge

The drive was, once again, quiet and lovely. While the area is a national forest, it also includes a number of small Illinois towns. We stopped at Cave-In-Rock (and the Cave-In-Rock State Park) for a short rest, and saw yet another commuter ferry that traversed the Ohio River. The park itself was not very large, but it included a nice waterfront view of the Ohio and shady picnic spots to enjoy the day. We stretched our legs and then ventured on.

We were going to try cross over into Missouri and take in some of the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozarks, but we were getting a bit road weary. I fired up my trusty TripAdvisor to start looking for a place to stay, and we settled on a Drury Hotel in Poplar Bluff, MO. From here, we’ll have a short drive to the Mark Twain Forest and our chosen route.

I do have to say that I’m impressed with the Drury. It is a very pet-friendly hotel chain (NO additional fee) that offers both a free happy hour AND hot dinner buffet as well as a free breakfast buffet and free wi-fi. I think we’ll be staying at more Drury Hotels during this trip, but tomorrow night’s stay is a special selection! You’ll have to check back and find out what we have planned!

Pig-mobile

Pig-mobile!

Crossing the Mississippi

Crossing the Mississippi

Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge

Bill Emerson Memoria Bridge, Cape Girardeau, MO

Missouri State Line

Welcome to Missouri

It’s great to see that Jasmine has finally recovered from her stomach problems and is starting to bond more with Juliet. The girls are often snuggling together in the back seat, and both are looking out to see the sights whenever we stop.

Travel Buddies

Jasmine and Juliet are becoming travel buddies!